Beneath Stage Lights

by John Herzog

Every day,
every hour I live
is an improv show,
and I don't quite know
who signed me up

And a thousand seated eyes
perforate my confidence
as I stiffly stammer
beneath the glow
of amber stage lights

It was never in my vocation
to forge jokes or quips
from out my throat,
nor to carry a scene
in all my tomfoolery

But the audience
lingers like the executioner
at my trial,
and I doubt
I'll last through
this interminable show

Then, I see you
emerged from backstage shadows
and standing at my side,
your face bathed
in the judging light
and adorned
with your
impenetrable smile

And the sight of you
instills the strength
and the gumption
to stroll right up to
the edge
and pull the audience's
breath away
like heat from the flame
as we dance around it

You take stage left,
and I'll take stage right,
and we'll set the crowd
ablaze with laughter,
and we'll
pat each others shoulders
as we exhale
our exhilaration.


Author's Note: For my best friend.

Posted on 01/04/2010
Copyright © 2021 John Herzog

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by V. Blake on 01/04/10 at 05:59 AM

I absolutely love the first stanza. You had me sold on this piece's excellence from there onward, and ya never lost me.

Posted by Olivia Martin on 01/04/10 at 02:19 PM

I absolutely love this piece. From the beginning it reminded me of something a teacher once told me in high school: "Life is not a dress rehearsal." That being said, the poem was extraordinary. The sentiment was sincere, the imagery was powerful, and the flow was perfect. Friendship is a wonderful thing, and you've managed to capture it beautifully, to a T. Great job!

Posted by Tony Whitaker on 01/11/11 at 07:16 PM

Cool Write dude!

Posted by Scott Utley on 01/12/11 at 01:20 AM

Oh my G-d, this is so great! I don't like to brag - of course I do! - in my life I have starred in over 50 professional stage productions so I may be biased, however, you nailed the experience of performing, a essential aspect of it - and the ease, confidence and wisdom and flow to nirvana of this piece is intoxicating ... can you tell I love this?

Posted by Frankie Sanchez on 01/13/11 at 08:48 AM

Just walked in the door from performing an improv show and I swear I had this moment tonight, or something quite like it. Well said. Cheers!

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